Geological Sciences

Department of Geological Sciences


Chair: Brooks Bradley Britt

Department Information: 

S-389 ESC



Advisement Center: 

N-181 ESC




Admission to Degree Program

All degree programs in the Department of Geological Sciences are open enrollment. However, special limitations apply for teaching majors.

The Discipline

Geological sciences are aimed at understanding the Earth's origin and development and the natural processes that have operated upon it and within it from the time of formation of the solar system. With the development of remote sensing technology and the exploration of the solar system by spacecraft, geological sciences have become increasingly important for understanding not only the Earth but the Moon, other planets and their moons, and small bodies that orbit the Sun.

Understanding the dynamic processes of Earth and other planets is relevant to many societal needs, such as assessment and forecasting of natural hazards, environmental change, and discovery of energy and mineral resources. Some of the diverse disciplines that can be studied in this department include environmental geology, mineral resources, hydrogeology and water resources, petroleum resources geology, plate tectonics, volcanology, geochemistry, geophysics, paleontology, paleoclimatology, and planetary geology.

Career Opportunities

Graduates have the opportunity to work in diverse locations including in the office or remotely on computers, outdoors and in the laboratory, pursuing careers in energy, mineral, and water resources, environmental evaluation with industry, government, or consulting firms, and in basic research through national laboratories, government or academia. The substantial preparation in basic sciences and mathematics also leads to a broad spectrum of other career opportunities. The most marketable terminal degree in geological sciences is the Master of Science, though there are competitive and stimulating jobs available at the BS and PhD levels. Starting salaries for this degree are often very competitive with those of other disciplines.

Global Geology Program

When possible, the department provides opportunities for advanced undergraduates and graduate students to examine rocks and geological processes at some premier localities around the world. These one- to two-week field trips allow students to do mentored research projects and develop field expertise rarely available to undergraduate students. Programs that are run every four to five years include:

  1. Active volcanism of Hawaii.

  2. Carbonate formation in Florida and the Bahamas.

  3. Tectonism and plutonism in the northeast Appalachians.

Trips to more distant localities (e.g., Italy, Alaska, India, England) have also been held. Scholarships are available that greatly reduce the cost to students.

Graduation Requirements

To receive a BYU bachelor's degree a student must complete, in addition to all requirements for a specific major, the following university requirements:

  • The University Core, consisting of requirements in general and religious education.

  • At least 30 credit hours must be earned in residence on the BYU campus in Provo as an admitted day student

  • A minimum of 120 credit hours

  • A cumulative GPA of at least 2.0

  • Be in good standing with the Honor Code Office

Students should see their college advisement center for help or information concerning the undergraduate programs.

Graduate Programs Available

This department also offers graduate degree programs. For more information, see Graduate Studies.